A galaxy far, far away has finally made it’s way to Blu-Ray, accompanied by never-before-seen deleted scenes from the original “Star Wars” films.
The short segments include everything from an extended wampa snow monster attack during “The Empire Strikes Back” and an intense sandstorm from “Return of the Jedi.”
The deleted scenes are an excellent addition to a “Star Wars” box set and an excellent marketing ploy to get fans to purchase the same films they bought on VHS and DVD on Blu-Ray, but beyond that the scenes also serve as a barometer for just how much George Lucas’ film-making prowess has deteriorated over the 30 plus years since the original “Star Wars” was released.
Are the deleted scenes fun to watch? Absolutely. But in every single scene it is obvious that not removing said scene would have left the film worse for having included it.
Deleted scenes for “The Empire Strikes Back” include Han Solo insisting that Princess Leia spends too much time being a princess and not enough time being a woman, then offering to show her how.
Later, Leia audibly contemplates when she will learn not to trust anyone but herself. These two scenes alone serve to make two of the films central protagonists goofy and melodramatic.
Luckily, Lucas had the foresight to understand that and removed both scenes from the film.
The same can be said for the aforementioned sand storm sequence in “Return of the Jedi,” wherein the heroes are hit by a devastating sandstorm just after they escape from Jabba the Hutt. The scene certainly isn’t horrible, but it is cumbersome, and imagining it in the context of the entire film, it’s easy to see why it didn’t fit.
Fortunately, once again Lucas had the directorial prowess to remove the scene from the film.
These scenes – and more importantly their removal – are quite frustrating, especially considering not only what Lucas would go on to include in the franchise, but what he would add. It’s difficult to understand why Lucas was able to cut out Han Solo’s misogyny in “Empire”, but not Jar Jar Binks from “The Phantom Menace,” or any other “Star Wars” film ever made.
With the most recent additions to the original evoking further fan backlash, it appears as though this declining trend is destined to continue. Perhaps Lucas is aware of this and at last released these archived deleted scenes in a last ditch effort to say, “See? I knew what I was doing once. A long, long time ago.”
This frustration aside, its still very cool to see new footage from the “Star Wars” glory days, and the box set is packed with tons of additional bonus footage, including a nearly two-hour montage of every “Star Wars” parody from the infamous Superbowl Volkswagen commercial to Mark Hamel’s appearance on “The Simpsons.”
Of course, the primary offering in the box set is the first high-definition release of the six films, and the quality of the transfer to high-definition does not disappoint. The movies undoubtedly look and sound the best they ever have.
Keep in mind, however, that you won’t be fooled into thinking you’re watching a movie from 2008 when you see “A New Hope.”
If you already own the “Star Wars” films on DVD, VHS and Laserdisc and you aren’t compelled by a violent, geeky lust to possess everything a galaxy far, far away has to offer, then you probably don’t need to pick up “The Complete Saga” Blu-Ray, but if you’re looking for a sweet holiday gift or something to steal from Best Buy, look into “Star Wars: The Complete Saga.”
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